Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa voices his nation's admiration for the "unity, progress and focus" of Uganda, which he says they are aspiring to follow and achieve.
🇺🇬 57TH INDEPENDENCE DAY ANNIVERSARY
By Joseph Kizza
3:23pm | 'IT'S A WRAP
Let's leave you with these pictures of the President with the medalists. I should remind you that President Mnangagwa received The Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa.
3:23pm | 'Cost of labour low'
"The cost of labour has been low. We were able to achieve economic recovery and growth - these strategic bottleneck notwithstanding because some of the sectors do not need electricity much, for intance construction, which always grows by a rate of 12.5% per annum," says President Museveni.
"Since 2006, I put my foot down and insisted on putting more money in transport and electricity. That is why we now have good tarmac roads - from north to south of the country, from one corner of Uganda to another.
"We are now also going to start on the road to the north-east, that is Moroto, Kotido, Kaabong, Kidepo, South Sudan border.
"My strong decision, provided we budget properly, emphasizing production over consumption, is that we concentrate on the three cost pushers - transport, electricity and the cost of money. The answers for these cost pushers are cargo and, even passengers, to be transported in high-speed trains, to provide adequate and cheaper electricity for manufacturing, and then Uganda Development Bank capitalised by Government providing low interest loans for manufacturing, hotels, tourism assets and internal trade for locally-manufactured goods."
3:19pm | 'Minimum economic recovery'
President Museveni says: "Since 1986, the patriotic line of the NRM of 'Patriotism, pan-Africanism, socio-economic transformation and democracy' gained the upper hand. That is how Uganda has been able to build a strong national army for the first time in the last 500 years.
"I really marvel at Africans when they talk of Africa as if we started with colonialism. Uganda was here even before colonialism.
"For the last 500 years, even before colonialism, this area was in a lot of turmoil, caused first by the tribal chiefs, then later on by the slave traders, then colonialists and then by the bad regimes that came after independence. Therefore our army was able to bring peace to this part of Uganda.
"The trouble did not start with the colonialists- even before, our chiefs were making a lot of mistakes.
"Uganda has been able to achieve economic recovery and achieve an annual rate of growth of 6.1% per annum for the last 33 years in spite of the strategic bottlenecks that were in place and in spite of our population growing from 14 million people in 1986 to 42 million now.
"We have been achieving these relatively high rates of growth in spite of lack of electricity, high transport costs from the ocean, where we spent $3,456 per 40-ft container by road instead of spending $1,800 per the same container by railway.
"We have also been growing in spite of the high cost of money."
3:15pm | Museveni pays tribute to Mugabe
"I want to use this occasion to extend the condolences of the Ugandans and of myself again to Your Excellency on the death of our elder and comrade freedom fighter Mzee Robert Mugabe," he says.
"Mzee Mugabe made a historic contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe. He spent 10 years in prison on account of that.
(A minute of silence in tribute to the fallen statesman).
3:12pm | Mnangagwa gets The Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa
At beginning of his speech, President Museveni talked linguistics.
"I am happy that both the African Union and, recently, Southern African Development Community (SADC) have adopted Kiswahili as an official language. Kiswahili is a distillation of a non-sectarian dialect out of the numerous African dialects - Bantu, Afro-Asiatic, etc.
"The Swahili word for 'table', for instance, 'meza' is originally from Portuguese.
"I, therefore, thank His Excellency Mnangagwa for agreeing to come and check on his relatives in the Great Lakes on this occasion of Uganda's 57th Independence anniversary."
By the way, Museveni has awarded his guest Mnangagwa with The Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa, which is the highest civilian award of the Ugandan honours system, awarded to heads of state and government leaders.
3:10pm | 'Concentrate on production'
Museveni says that because construction does not require electricity, the sector has been growing. From 2006, "I put my foot down" to put more emphasis on electricity and roads.
But then, he adds, good roads are only good for passengers - "but it is not so good for cargo".
"It is cheaper to use railway and water."
He also talks of the emphasis on production as opposed to consumption.
"My strong decision was to concentrate on transport, electricity and cost of money."
2:51pm | 'Our chiefs made mistakes'
"Our problems did not start with the colonialists. Our chiefs were actually making mistakes," says President Museveni in his delivery.
2:42pm | 'Solidarity'
President Mnangagwa says that despite the fact that his country has been under sanctions for two decades, they solidarity has kept them going.
"I will convey the warmth my delegation has received from this patriotic country."
2:40pm | 'Uganda our elder brother and sister'
The Zimbabwean leader says he is "happy to be here to consolidate and deepen" the ties between Uganda and Zimbabwe.
"Your independence inspired us in southern Africa," he adds.
"We admire the unity, the progress and focus you are having here in Uganda, developing your country in unity and love. This, to us, we aspire to follow and achieve.
2:35pm | 'Uganda our elder brother and sister'
"I am here on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe. Uganda is 57 years old in terms of independence and freedom. Zimbabwe is 39 years old in terms of independence and freedom. Therefore, Uganda is an elder brother and sister to us," says President Emmerson Mnangwaga in his speech.
2:25pm | RESPECT
A veteran in our midst . . .
2:15pm | Happening at FDC headquarters
Away fron Sironko, FDC is having its own independence celebrations . . .
2:00pm | March past time
1:37pm | Had you seen him?
Now you do.
Such an animated fella!
1:30pm | Security's top men
Here they are - the men leading the top security organs on the land.
From left, Chief of Defence Forces Gen. David Muhoozi, Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola and Commissioner General of Prisons Johnson Byabashaija.
1:10pm | Museveni, Mnangawa held bilateral talks
On Tuesday, the visiting Zimbabwean president held bilateral talks with his host.
According to foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa, the two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including regional security and peace, economic development, the need to expand partnership, trade and investment and the need to reform the United Nations Security Council and removal of Western sanctions that were placed on Zimbabwe.
Here is the full story
12:57pm | FDC holds parallel independence function
Meanwhile, Opposition party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is holding alternative independence day commerations at their party headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Kampala.
As expected, the party's top shots are attending. From left, Wasswa Birigwa (national party chairperson), Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (spokesperson) and Patrick Oboi Amuriat (president).
12:53pm | Wave the national flag high up
12:47pm | President inspects guard of honour
Flanked by his guest Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, President Museveni has just inspected the guard of honour.
Prayers next up . . .
12:45pm | 🔊 PODCAST | Historical facts on independence
There is an assumption that every Ugandan wanted Uganda to attain independence in 1962 - but this is not entirely true, says researcher Tony Owana in our latest podcast.
Take a listen
12:32pm | The man who hoisted Uganda's flag in 1962
While many drummed, sang and ululated as Uganda's flag was hoisted for the first time on October 9, 1962, one young man stood still, probably shaking in his boots with a mixture of fear and pride. Proud, that he was the one performing this historic role and fear, because it was a huge task for him. "I just couldn't believe it," he recounts.
Maj. Akorimo Kanuti's role was not a simple task - and he knew it.
Just hours before, "the city was tensed, as some people thought the British would resist our independence while the late President Apollo Milton Obote, then Prime Minister, feared that army officer Idi Amin would disrupt the function.
Now living a quiet life in Omatenga village in Kumi district, the 87-year-old carries the accolade of a national hero, but lives a pauper's life in a dilapidated house.
Nonetheless, he still vividly remembers that day in 1962 with much pride and joy.
Read Kanuti's full story here
12:25pm | Attention
In a single file . . .
12:15pm | PRESIDENT YOWERI MUSEVENI ARRIVES
President Yoweri Museveni has arrived at the venue. He has his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa for company.
By the way, there is an interesting story about the current Zimbabwean leader, who succeeded Robert Mugabe (RIP). Read it here
11:44am | Medal ceremony
Col. Michael Kabuye pinning a Nalubale medal on one of the medalists
Col. Joseph Onata pinning a Nalubale medal on Jessica Katushabe, the daughter of 120-year-old Kakyondo Yokana and resident of Luwero.
Lt. Col. Margaret Kasumba decorating Vincent Obua with a Nalubale medal.
Col. Boney Wolimbwa pinning a Nalubale medal on Oliver Kishero, who is from Buginyanya.
Ali Kirunda Kivejinja, who is the Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs is quietly sat in his place at the function.
11:44am | Who is around?
Can you name them?
Will give you a head start . . . on the left in the picture immediately below is Uganda Prisons publicist Frank Baine.
11:44am | Meeting and greeting
Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi and Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga mingle.
Energy minister Eng. Irene Muloni and Minister for the Presidency Esther Mbayo share a hearty moment.
11:37am | Here comes Miss Curvy 2019
The winner of Miss Curvy 2019, Belinda Nansaasi, is attending the function.
11:37am | Sat and waiting
Guests are sat in and waiting patiently for the chief guest, President Yoweri Museveni, to arrive.
By the way, Zimbabwean president Emmerson Munangagwa is in the country and is expected to show up for the event. He jetted in Tuesday evening.
Local residents are attending the national event.
Gen Ivan Koreta is also around.
And so is the Archbishop of Tororo Archdiocese, His Grace Emmanuel Obbo.
Smart and patient.
11:22am | Miss Curvy finalist is around
Remember the Miss Curvy contest?
Well, the contest was won by Belinda Nansaasi. One of finalists, who finished as the second runner-up, is attending the independence celebration in Sironko.
On a sweltering late morning, she has gone for a lime-green outfit and slapped on a pair of shades too. Cool.
11:15am | Putting up a show
It is the men and women of the uniform doing well to keep the guests entertained.
And one man that will be impressed by that display up there is Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Andrew Sorowen, who arrived at the venue looking sharp in a dark police uniform.
11:10am | President to grace function
This year's main celebration is taking place in the eastern part of the country. President Yoweri Museveni will president over the event.
The podium from which he will deliver his address is set.
10:58am | They have arrived
General Court Martial chairman Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti is around.
And so is UPDF spokesperson UPDF spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, who has interacted with fellow army officers.
10:43am | The theme
This year's main Independence Day anniversary celebration happening in Sironko district is themed: Consolidation of national unity, security, freedom and prosperity.
10:25am | The defining moments
What are the moments that shaped Uganda's governance post-independence?
10:20am | 🇺🇬 Happy Birthday Uganda!
Independent Uganda has turned 57 today.